Saturday (9/10) morning, I found myself almost instantly at the BLM Wild Horse pens -- I had to find a turnout and make a u-turn to go back! The gate was open but the place appeared abandoned, except for hundreds of gorgeous horses in different pens.
The first pen seemed to have the wildest bunch of horses - I suppose they get more exposure to people, cars and the rare motorcycle that way.
It was amazing to watch this first group of horses move around as a herd - it was like watching starlings or other birds moving around in big clouds. The horses shifted back and forth, quivered, waited anxiously - wondering whether something was going to happen, prepared to dart off, despite their confinement.
It seemed like the babies all looked like the mommas!
Other pens had slightly less jittery horses, some were getting to be downright friendly and came up to the fence to see if I had brought them any treats.
One of the hands at the ranch told me that there was a special type of horse that was going to be auctioned off - but the rest could be had for $125 if you had a trailer and a place to keep a horse!
Heading south on 395, the terrain changes to high desert with wide open, subtle landscapes and gorgeous skies. I guess a lot of people don't find it attractive but I quite enjoyed it and would not ever think of calling it ugly. Just when I was getting into a groove - along comes a really big lake - just one of those areas that photos don't do justice.
I stopped for gas in Lakeview - where the two teenagers on duty were very attentive, admired my Zombie hunting permit on my windscreen and sighed loudly that they were envious of my trip. Just past the shut-down downtown, I found a little Sunday lunch at a cafe with a great big motorcycle parked there. It was all pretty blue and chrome -- and the driver was just as shiny, so I sat at the counter and struck up conversation. Turns out Jason is from the East Bay but heading north!
Admire Jason's pretty motorcycle here:
After eating my iceberg lettuce, toast and ...yeah, that's pretty much all they had that was vegan at this stop - I continued south, heading for Lassen. I was out of camp stove fuel, so I thought I'd be clever and try to find some on the way down - stopping several times at places that promised outdoors/outfitter/camping/fishing supplies. I was a bit concerned about being able to have dinner or breakfast since I didn't see a restaurant in Lassen.
I arrived at Manzanita Lake just in time to get a walk-in cabin, buy isopro fuel, beer and a few vegetables before they closed the store at 5 or 6 or whatever it was. I got a cute little cabin, unloaded my gear, set up my hammock on the porch and proceeded to enjoy a cold beer, chocolate and my book for an hour or so before exploring the campground and the little chilly lake.
I had a hot shower, then returned to my cabin to make dinner (more udon noodles with curry and veg), drink beer and hang out with my neighbors at their fire, tell ghost stories to their children and acquire the brightest green laser pointer ever from the camp host.
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